Pryde’s Bar: ditching football for families in Gorgie

Pryde's Bar in Gorgie reminds me of some of Leith's Scandinavian bars
Pryde’s Bar in Gorgie reminds me of some of Leith’s Scandinavian bars

[Note: as of July 2015, Pryde’s is now Entwine, describing itself as a bar and bistro specialising in fresh Italian food]

I was never in Robertson’s bar on Gorgie Road. Painted maroon and white and sporting a Heart of Midlothian crest as its pub sign, it wore its heart on its sleeve. Add in the zero tolerance on away supporters and the imposing doormen and no one other than a rampant Jambo would venture through its doors, ruling myself out. Times change, however, and just as there have been major changes at Tynecastle in the past year, this traditional football pub has also undergone a revolution and is now Pryde’s Bar – a family friendly establishment painted cream and determined to change the reputation of the premises. Continue reading Pryde’s Bar: ditching football for families in Gorgie

Sandy Bell’s: the perfect pub on Referendum Eve

Sandy Bell's was quiet when we first arrived but soon filled up
Sandy Bell’s was quiet when we first arrived but soon filled up

I love the idea of the pub being a place for debate. While a lot of discussion may happen online these days, there’s nothing like a spirited in-pub discussion. Of course, there’s been no bigger debate in Scotland lately than the Independence Referendum. And if there was any doubt in how engaged people were with it, you need only have been in Sandy Bell’s on the eve of the referendum where debate, both national and international, was complemented by the folk music that this pub is famous for.
Continue reading Sandy Bell’s: the perfect pub on Referendum Eve

Blue Blazer: brilliant boozer between books and boobs

The Blue Blazer sits in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle (far left)
The Blue Blazer sits in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle (far left)

The area in which the Blue Blazer sits in Edinburgh has always puzzled me somewhat. How did West Port and the surrounding area manage to become famous for two things: second-hand books and strippers? They seem odd bedfellows but they have co-existed for years and this fine old pub has no doubt served patrons of both types of establishment down the years. And served them well, as this is a great little boozer that I find myself visiting every few months for some reason or other.

Continue reading Blue Blazer: brilliant boozer between books and boobs

The Queens Arms: maybe new as old can work after all

The Queens Arms on Frederick Street is a cosy yet cavernous basement pub
The Queens Arms on Frederick Street is a cosy yet cavernous basement pub

I’ve never hidden the fact that I like Edinburgh’s traditional pubs – the Guildford Arms, Bennets, that kind of thing. So I find the Queens Arms on Frederick Street a funny one. Opened back in 2010, I’ve been in briefly a couple of times and I’ve never shaken that nagging doubt that it’s a new pub trying to be old and that somehow that counts against it. But then I got thinking – does that matter? Should I penalise a pub for actually trying to be what I want? It needed an in-depth investigation and a Monday night dinner with Mrs Bar Fly was the vehicle for my enquiries.

Continue reading The Queens Arms: maybe new as old can work after all

The Raeburn: its branding is better than its breakfast

Built in the 1830s, the Raeburn in Stockbridge is an impressive building
Built in the 1830s, The Raeburn in Stockbridge is an impressive building

The Raeburn Hotel languished lonely and unloved in Stockbridge for a number of years until it was re-opened earlier this year as simply The Raeburn. Offering boutique hotel rooms, a bar, restaurant and various terraces, a lot of money has clearly been spent on the place as we discovered recently when we went for Sunday brunch the day after a wedding. Eight of us plus Eric the dog were looking forward to a hearty breakfast and a look back at the previous day’s momentous events in the company of the bride and groom themselves. So did the Raeburn measure up enough for us to consider a long-term relationship?
Continue reading The Raeburn: its branding is better than its breakfast